Theatre Of Hate are a post-punk band formed in Britain in 1980. Led by singer-songwriter and ex-member of punk band The Pack, Kirk Brandon, the original group also consisted of guitarist Steve Guthrie, bassist Stan Stammers (The Straps/Epileptics), saxophonist John Lennard and drummer Luke Rendle from Crisis/The Straps. The first Theatre of Hate release was the "Original Sin" single in November 1980, which reached No. 5 on the UK Indie Chart. Theatre of Hate garnered much early attention as a live act and made their album debut in 1981 with the concert LP He Who Dares Wins (Live at the Warehouse Leeds). Steve Guthrie left the band shortly after the album's release. Another concert recording followed, Live at the Lyceum.

In August 1981, Theatre of Hate entered the studio with producer Mick Jones of the Clash to record their first non-live album debut, Westworld, released on February 19, 1982. Shortly after the album was recorded, new guitarist Billy Duffy (formerly of The Nosebleeds) joined the band, and soon after that, drummer Luke Rendle was replaced by Nigel Preston. The album reached No. 17 in the UK Albums Chart, and also spawned the Top 40 single "Do You Believe in the Westworld".

In February 1982, Theatre of Hate released another live album, He Who Dares Wins: Live in Berlin, recorded in September 1981. Brandon went on to front Spear Of Destiny with bassist Stan Stammers. A post break-up compilation album Revolution spent three weeks in the UK Albums Chart, peaking at No. 67. Nigel Preston joined his former bandmate Billy Duffy as drummer for the Cult, playing on their 1984 album Dreamtime.....(Read more)

Links to Peel

One of the band's early singles, Rebel Without A Brain, was apparently a slow-burner for JP, even though it had appeared in their first session: on its first airplay, he commented, "I think I may have to listen to that a few more times before I learn to love it with an all-consuming passion." [1]

Do You Believe In The Westworld was the band's career highpoint, its entry at number 40 in the UK chart in January 1982 being their only chart hit. JP prefaced his first play by noting that Neil (Kid Jensen) had just played it on his show but that was no reason not to play it again. When he hosted Top Of The Pops on 04 February 1982 (TOTP) for the first time since 1968, the first act he introduced was Theatre Of Hate performing the aforementioned with the words, "These people are not Belgian!".

The band recorded three sessions for his show, and Brandon and Stammers would go on to tape another as Spear Of Destiny: this also appeared to mark the end of his interest in TOH's material, as no further plays are recorded.

Festive Fifty Entries

Theatre Of Hate achieved four FF entries, including twice with the same song, and were one of only two acts (the other being New Order) to have top 10 entries in both the yearly (FF) and All-Time (AT) dual charts of 1982. Legion was actually the B-side of the 1980 single Original Sin but John invariably played this one: his listeners obviously agreed with his choice.

Theatre of Hate – Do You Believe In The Westworld (Studio, TOTP)

Theatre of Hate – Do You Believe In The Westworld (Studio, TOTP)

John introduces TOH on TOTP.


  • Three sessions. A variety of session tracks appear on the 3xCD expanded reissue of Westworld, Cherry Red, 2016.

1. Recorded: 1980-12-01. First broadcast: 09 December 1980. Repeated: 07 January 1981

  • Rebel Without A Brain / The Wake / 63 / It's My Own Invention

2. Recorded: 1981-08-15. First broadcast: 24 August 1981. Repeated: 14 September 1981 two from latter on Mr maudlin's Peel Sessions Vol2 mix tape

  • Love Is A Ghost / Conquistador / Propaganda / Do You Believe In The Westworld

3. Recorded: 1982-02-08. First broadcast: 18 February 1982. Repeated: 11 March 1982, 21 April 1982, 15 December 1982

  • Dreams Of The Poppy / Incinerator / The Hop / The Klan

Other Shows Played

Top Of The Pops

External Links

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